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Thai beach ‘ruined’ by Leonardo DiCaprio film finally being fixed

Posted on September 20, 2022

More than two decades after a Thai beach was used as a location in a Leonardo DiCaprio movie, the production company has agreed to pay to repair environmental damage reportedly caused during filming.

Anyone who’s seen Danny Boyle’s cult classic The Beach (starring none other than our boy Leonardo) will be somewhat familiar with the jaw-droppingly beautiful Maya Bay, the Ko Phi Phi Leh beach, where much of the film was shot.

The movie’s negative impact on the beach has been widely reported over the last two decades, and now, a Thai court has ordered the repair of the location, 22 years after The Beach’s release.

A Thai court has ordered the repair of the location used in the Danny Boyle film.

The supreme court decision means officials must now press ahead with environmental rehabilitation work on the island in southern Thailand.

When shooting The Beach back in 1998, filmmakers allegedly disrupted Maya Bay’s delicate ecosystem by planting dozens of coconut trees to give the golden stretch of sand a more ‘tropical’ feel, however, production is thought to have ripped up vegetation growing on sand dunes to make way for the trees.

20th Century Fox has always insisted the beach was left exactly as it was found, also claiming to have removed ‘tonnes’ of rubbish from the site.

In 1999, a civil lawsuit seeking 100m baht ($2.7m) in compensation for environmental damage was filed by local authorities against Thai government agencies, 20th Century Fox and a Thai film coordinator.

On Tuesday (13 September), Bangkok’s supreme court upheld a ruling that stated the royal forest department was liable for Maya Bay’s rehabilitation.

It also upheld an agreement with 20th Century Fox to provide 10m baht ($270k) in funds for the restoration of the beach.

The committee now has 30 days to make a rehabilitation plan.

Maya Bay became so popular that it had to be closed in 2018.

UNILAD has approached Disney, 20th Century Fox’s parent company, for comment.

After the film’s release, Maya Bay became so popular that it had to be closed in 2018 so it could recover from the staggering amount of tourists visiting the beach.

After Hollywood put the idyllic cove’s name on the map, mountains of rubbish were a frequent sight on the beach and wildlife started disappearing.

What’s more, 90 percent of coral was estimated to have been destroyed by the likes of swimmers, sunscreen chemicals and boat anchors.

Just six months after the beach closed, black-tipped reef sharks returned to the area and conservationists were able to replant an incredible 30,000 fragments of coral.

In January, Maya Bay reopened to tourists, but certain measures are in place to limit ecological damage.


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